Many recreational and scenic attractions are found in Texas. There are tall pine forests in the eastern part of the state, rugged mountains and colorful deserts in the southwest, and interesting historic landmarks in such cities as San Antonio.
In several hundred places the Texas landscape has been altered with artificially created lakes. The lakes have greatly expanded the facilities for fishing and all kinds of other water sports. Hunting is a popular seasonal sport in all parts of Texas, particularly in the central and southern sections, where deer and other wildlife abound. Boating, bathing, and deep-sea fishing draw large numbers of visitors to the winter resorts along the lower Gulf Coast. Other winter vacation centers have been developed in the Lower Río Grande Valley between Brownsville and Mission. These cities are gateways to Mexico, as are Laredo, Del Rio, and El Paso.
Noted for its rugged scenery and beautiful wildflowers, Big Bend National Park along the Río Grande is a major tourist attraction. A relatively recent addition to the national park system is Padre Island, a long barrier island that features sand dunes and long stretches of beach (see Padre Island National Seashore). It is linked by causeway with Corpus Christi. Guadalupe Mountains National Park in southwestern Texas includes an excellent example of a fossilized reef. National recreation areas provide access to Amisdad Reservoir on the Río Grande and Lake Meredith on the Canadian River. The National Park Service administers several important historic sites in Texas. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four Spanish missions built during the 18th century.
An important post in the 19th-century defensive system of West Texas is contained in the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Johnson City and Stonewall includes the birthplace, boyhood home, and ranch of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th U.S. President.
National forests, all in eastern Texas, offer recreational facilities. Agencies of the federal government also administer a national preserve, national grasslands, and national wildlife refuges. A flock of whooping cranes that nest in Canada makes its winter home in the Aransas-Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge, north of Rockport.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department maintains state parks, state forests, and historic sites. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, in the Panhandle, is one of the largest state parks. Water sports may be enjoyed at Caddo Lake, Atlanta, Possum Kingdom, Lake Whitney, and many other state parks, and bay fishing is available at Goose Island State Park. A number of state parks preserve the missions, forts, and historic buildings of Texas. In San Antonio is the famous mission-fortress known as the Alamo. Several historic sites associated with the Republic of Texas are included in Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. East of Houston the San Jacinto Monument commemorates the defeat of the Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1836, during the Texas Revolution. Other state historic parks include such sites as the Port Isabel Lighthouse. ; the Fannin Battleground, near Goliad; and the birthplace of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Denison. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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